Winter Solstice Celebration – New Releases Newsletter 2013


On this, the shortest day of the year we look back to the vintage that was and look forward to longer days.

 Winter Solstice was traditionally a time to celebrate and reconnect with friends, family and nature. Here at Churton we embrace this philosophy and choose Winter Solstice to release our new vintage wines.



The majority of the fruit was hand picked and whole bunch pressed then fermented with slightly higher levels of solids than normal. The machine harvested portion was clarified and fermented cool with neutral yeast. About 15%of the juice was fermented in large 500-600 litre French oak puncheons and demi muids. Blending was done in early January after 9 months of lees ageing and the wine was filtered and bottled in early March 2013

TASTING NOTE: Bright and aromatic with hints of white currant and elder flower. On the palate the wine is concentrated and complex with smooth silky textures, creaminess and an underlying melon and white rose jam fruitiness. The Churton Sauvignon Blanc 2012 finishes with a long citrusy crispness and great length.



Hand picked, sorted then de-stemmed. The whole berries (no stems) went to tank where the fruit underwent a cool maceration for 5-10 days before the onset of a natural indigenous ferment.Warm fast fermentation with gentle plunging twice a day was followed by a long warm maceration. Total cuvaison was around one lunar month. The wine was pressed to barrel, all French oak (piece de Bourgogne), 15% of which was new. Total maturation in barrel was 16 months. The wine went through natural malolactic fermentation in spring/early summer. It was then racked, blended and back to barrel before being bottled without filtration in September 2012.

TASTING NOTE: Bright deep ruby coloured, this wine has the aroma of old fashioned musk roses with underlying red plum and cerise. The palate is dry, complex and earthy with a silky texture and subtle fruit running through it. The Churton Pinot Noir 2011 is delicate and fine with a long finish.



2013 could be the best vintage we’ve ever seen. Superb Sauvignon Blanc with wonderful intensity and balance and really intense yet elegant Pinot Noir with great tannin structure layers of flavour and length. The season started with a wet winter. Pruning was finished in mid September. We deliberately pruned the vineyard with shorter canes than normal to help combat the lack of vigour from the previous season. Shorter canes mean less buds, which in turn means lower yields. Bud burst was a little late, not starting until late September for Pinot Noir and early October for Sauvignon Blanc. We then had a very dry spring with good flowering across all varieties at about normal time early to mid December. Even though we had a successful flowering the bunch numbers were down as a result of the cold weather in 2012. We then had a fantastic long dry summer. Some good and much needed rain arrived at the end of January and we then reverted to warm dry weather with cool nights right through until harvest. The lead up to harvest was perfect. We started picking Pinot Noir on 28th March (3 days later than average) and Sauvignon Blanc on 1st April. We harvested wonderful, clean fruit in all varieties finishing harvest with Petit Manseng on 1st May. Though the yields were very low the quality is absolutely exceptional.



As we head into mid winter, vintage seems ages ago already. The vines are now dormant and the hillsides are peaceful except for the sound of the secateurs and quiet voices as pruning gets underway. The fantails are playing amongst the vine cuttings and the rows of vines are being transformed from tall brown fans waving in the wind to neatly wrapped plants following the contours of the wire.

 Our fabulous compost has been made and is quietly steaming, the Cow Pat Pits have been turned and Biodynamic Preparation 500 has been applied to the land. There is a peaceful, calm atmosphere in the vineyard with winter tasks being accomplished as the land relaxes and the hibernating stages of plant life are storing energy for Spring.



Marlborough Pinot Noir 2010 and ‘The Abyss’ Pinot Noir featured in Hospitality/Thirst Magazine June 2013

 Churton featured in Alder Yarrow’s Vinography: awine blog. 9-9.5 score for both Pinot’s and 9 for the Sauvignon Blanc.

Churton featured on Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews. 5 Stars for ‘The Abyss’ and 4 stars for Churton Marlborough Pinot Noir.

Churton Pinot Noir 2010 reviewed in the New Zealand Herald by Jo Burzynska – “A svelte biodynamic beauty with beguiling notes for rose, cherry and earth”.


With best wishes for your Winter Solstice (or Summer for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere),

Sam, Mandy, Ben, Julie and the Churton team


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